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Help and Frequently Asked Questions

 

How may we help you? You can use this page to quickly find answers to common questions about ConserveOnline. Simply browse the topics below to locate the information you are looking for.

General | Library | Workspaces

General


What is ConserveOnline?

ConserveOnline is a meeting place for the conservation community, open to anyone who wants to find or share information relevant to conservation science and practice. Using ConserveOnline you can:

  • Post data, documents, images, maps and other resources in the ConserveOnline library.
  • Announce upcoming meetings or events and host discussions in your workspace.
  • Search for documents within a selected list of conservation organization websites.

The Nature Conservancy created and maintains ConserveOnline in collaboration with many partners. ConserveOnline is intended to help improve the practice of conservation across organizations and national boundaries.

Why should I join ConserveOnline?

You should become a member of the ConserveOnline website if you want to:

  • Contribute documents, files or other resources to the ConserveOnline library.
  • Have a workspace, calendar and discussion groups.

However, if you want to browse the library or public workspaces, you do not need to be a member of ConserveOnline.

What is Search?

When you perform a search, the search engines will perform two types of searches:

  • Internal Search: If you are searching the site internally, the search engine will search:
    • The workspace name and the full text of all documents in your workspace.
    • All search terms. If you would like to highlight key concepts in your workspace and thus increase the likelihood that interested users will find your content, you can define specific search terms in your workspace by entering words or phrases into the field called Other Search Terms on the Workspace Settings page.
    • All metadata. See the frequently asked question for How can I add a file to a Library?
  • External Search: If you are searching the site externally, the search engine will search:
    • The External Conservations Sites and GIS Portal Content.

Below is the collection of authoritative conservation websites that has been made available for searching. The current list is:

The Nature Conservancy's sites:

NatureServe:

The World Wildlife Fund's English language sites:

Portions of the World Resources Institute's site:

Conservation International, including the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science:

The National Sea Grant Library: http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/

Rainforest Action Network:

Forest Action Network: http://www.fanweb.org/

The American Museum of Natural History's Science site: http://www.amnh.org/science/

Rainforest Alliance: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/

The World Conservation Union: http://www.iucn.org/

Private Landowner Network: http://www.privatelandownernetwork.org/

United Nations Envronment Programme's GRID-Arendal site: http://www.grida.no/

The GIS Portal Content.

Below is a collection of websites about conservation GIS that has been made available for searching.

The current list is:

The internal search results will be displayed on the middle of the search page and the external search results will be displayed on the right-hand side of the page.

Can I search other Conservation organizations?

Yes. The search engine searches by default only ConserveOnline. If you want to search within the conservation sites or GIS Portal Content, select either from the dropdown list under the search area.

Can I recommend other websites to search?
Yes. Send us your recommendations using the Contact Us feedback link.

What are the Google results?
When you perform a search, the search automatically queries Google for the terms you entered in the ConserveOnline search box. The top Google results are returned and displayed. Clicking on the Google logo will take you to the full Google results for your search.

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Library

What is the Library?

The library is a formal place to publish your work. Once you post a file to the library, it is given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a unique permanent identifier given to an electronic document. DOIs do not change and they are associated with information about the document, such as the title, authors, topics etc. The associated information makes the documents easier for interested readers to find. By default, you will see the files posted in the library by the Search Terms but can always browse the library by Authors, Recently Added and All files.

The screenshot below shows an example of the library by Search Terms:

What are the advantages of using the Library?

The main advantage of using the library is the ability to look at the documents by Search Terms, Authors and Recently Added. In addition, the metadata has many advantages that makes the library feature valuable too. The metadata makes each Digital Object Identifier (DOI) a rich source of information that search engines can use to locate documents on the Internet. The metadata is all the information that is listed on the Add Library File page. See the frequently asked question for What is metadata and where is it entered in COL?

What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique permanent identifier given to an electronic document. DOIs do not change and they are associated with information about the document, such as the title, authors, topics etc. The DOI that ConserveOnline issues is deposited in a central directory of DOIs of scholarly and research content. This directory is maintained by CrossRef (www.crossref.org), a not-for-profit network founded on publisher collaboration, with a mandate to make reference linking throughout online scholarly literature efficient and reliable. Other publishers and librarians can then link to those DOIs, greatly increasing the visibility of your documents to search engines.

How can I add a file to the Library?
To add a file in the library:

  • Login to ConserveOnline.
  • Under the Library section on the homepage, click the add a file link on the right-side of the page.
  • The Add Library File page appears.
  • Fill out the information on the page. The descriptors on this page are considered metadata associated with your library and are searchable by the search engines.
  • Click Save.

The screenshot below shows an example of adding a file to the library:

What are Keywords?
Keywords are used to describe and (similarly) organize files and pages in a workspace. In migrated workspaces, they are initially set to the foldername in which a file or page was previously located. The workspace manager has the freedom to create the most appropriate and relevant keywords for use within each workspace. Keywords are only applicable within your workspace. Keywords are not used to search for information using a search engine.

The advantages of using the specific keywords are:

  • It allows users to find the information they are looking for quickly.
  • It contains metadata. When documents are moved from the workspace to the library, they retain the metadata so the users don’t have to fill in the information again.

To enter a keyword:

  • Access your workspace.
  • Click Files & Pages on the left-hand side menu.
  • The Browse All Files & Pages page appears.
  • On the right-hand side of the screen, just below the green title bar, click on the blue Add Page or Add File button.
  • The Add Page or Add File page appears. You can add keywords under the Keywords field.

Please note that a single keyword can be a phrase, for example: FDMT data model. You can also use more than one keyword, for example: FDMT, Data, Model.

The screenshot below shows adding Keywords:

What are Search terms?

Search terms are used to index workspaces and files in the Library. They are author-created phrases that describe a workspace or a Library file. Search Terms can be used to perform searches and to find library documents related to specific topics.

The main advantage of using the specific Search Term is that it allows users to find the information they are looking for quickly.

To enter a search term for a workspace:

  • Access your workspace.
  • Click Workspace Settings on the left-hand side menu.
  • The Workspace Settings page appears.
  • You can add search terms under the Other Search Terms field.

Please note that a keyword can be a phrase, for example: FDMT data model. You can also use more than one keyword to describe a document or page.

The screenshot below shows adding Search Terms:

What is the difference between Keywords and Search Terms?
A keyword is used to describe the file or page that you're creating in a workspace. A search term is used to describe a workspace or a file in a library. A keyword is not searchable by the search engine; however, search terms are searchable by the search engine.

Tip: (to display on the Browse All Files & Pages page as a quick tip)
Keywords are mainly used to describe the file or page you're creating in a workspace. Correct use of keywords will make it easier to browse for your file/page or identify what the file/page is meant to discuss.

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Workspaces

What is a Workspace?
The workspace is the easiest way to make your work available on ConserveOnline. A workspace is a small website where you can post data, documents, images, maps etc. Using a workspace you can:

  • Create events calendar.
  • Hold discussions.
  • Invite people with/without ConserveOnline membership to access your workspace.
  • Restrict the information to a group of collaborators or make it public.

Please note that all documents that are available to the public will be accessible to search engines like Google.

The screenshot below shows an example of a Workspace:

How do I join a Workspace?
Each workspace is essentially a 'franchise' within ConserveOnline, and is independently owned and operated. To join a workspace you must contact the manager of that workspace.

To join a workspace:

  • Login to ConserveOnline.
  • Select the Workspaces tab.
  • The Browse My Workspaces page appears. By default, you will see your workspaces.
  • You can browse for other workspaces by Countries, Search Terms or All Workspaces.
  • Navigate to the name of the workspace that interests you.
  • The selected workspace home page appears. Click on the blue Join Workspace button on the right-hand side of the screen. Fill out the form and submit it to request permission to join the workspace. A request will be sent to the workspace manager, who will then approve or reject your request. You will get an e-mail or notification in your profile when your request is approved or rejected.

How can I change my Workspace homepage?

To change your workspace homepage:

  • Access your workspace.
  • Click Workspace Settings on the left-hand side menu.
  • The Workspace Settings page appears. On this page, you can change the title of the workspace, icon and logo images and the associated metadata by altering the fields.

In order to change the look of the homepage, you will need to use tool bar at the top of the content box that allows you to change the formatting of text, images, etc on the page.

The screenshot below shows the use of the tool bar to edit the content.

How do I edit a page in my Workspace?
In order to edit a page located under Files & Pages:

  • Access your workspace.
  • Click Files and Pages on the left-hand side menu.
  • Navigate and click on the page you would like to edit.
  • Click the blue Edit button.
  • The Edit File page appears.
  • Make desired changes and click Save. 

What is metadata and where is it entered in COL?
Metadata is a way of describing a file or a workspace in ConserveOnline. It is structured information that allows users to find and retrieve information quickly using descriptors rather than folders. In ConserveOnline, there are two types of metadata:

  • Searchable: Searchable means that you can use the Search box to find the information.
  • Non-searchable: Non-searchable requires you to manually navigate to find the information.

The table below distinguishes between what is searchable and what is not.

Searchable Metadata Non-Searchable Metadata
  • All Search Terms
  • Workspace Settings Descriptors:
    • Workspace Name
    • Biogeographic Realm
    • Habitat Type
    • Direct Threats
    • Etc.
  • Library File Descriptors:
    • Author
    • Title
    • All file content
    • Etc.
  • Workspace Files & Pages Keywords


What is searchable in my Workspace?
Everything except keywords in a workspace is searchable. The search engine will search the full text of every document and page in the workspace.

Can I publish documents in my Workspace?
Yes, you can move a file directly from your workspace to the library by viewing the properties of a file and pressing the blue Add to Library button. You can also post a document to the library by going to the Library tab and following the instructions for adding a file to the library.

How do I add new members to Workspaces?
If you create a workspace, you are automatically assigned as the workspace manager. To add new members:

  • Access your workspace.
  • Click Members on the left hand side menu.
  • The Manage Workspace Members page appears. You can invite new members to join your workspace by entering their email addresses in the Invite New Members box. You can also use the Search function to find ConserveOnline members by first and/or last name and then obtain their email address. When you have completed the list of people to invite, click the Invite Button below the box to send the invitations.

You can invite people to join your workspace; in addition, other members of ConserveOnline can contact you and request permission to join your workspace.

Below is an example of adding new members to Workspace:

How do I create an event in a calendar?
To create an event in a calendar:

  • Go to your workspace.
  • Click Calendar on the left hand side menu.
  • The Calendar page appears. On the right hand side of the screen, just below the green title bar, click on the blue Add Event button.
  • The Add Event page appears. Fill out the required information and then click Save to add an event.

Below is an example of adding an event:

How do I create a topic in a discussion?
To create a topic in a discussion:

  • Go to your Workspace.
  • Click Discussions on the left hand side menu.
  • The Discussions page appears. On the right hand side of the screen, just below the green title bar, click on the blue Add Discussions button.
  • The Add Discussion page appears. Fill out the required information and then click Save to add a discussion topic.

Below is an example of adding an event:

What is the Workspace Settings tab?
In your workspace, you will see a menu on the left hand side of the screen titled Workspace Home. The last item on the menu is called the Workspace Settings. This item appears in the workspace only if you are the owner of that workspace.

Using the Workspace Settings tab the user can:

  • Change the name, description, and permissions (public/private) of your workspace.
  • Add an icon or logo.
  • Change the Biogeographic Realm, Habitat Type and other properties associated with your workspace. These terms are considered metadata. They are searchable by search engines.

What is the difference between searching and browsing in a Workspace?
Search within a workspace uses a Google search engine. It searches:

  • The full text of all documents in your workspace.
  • Specific search terms for your workspace and its files/pages.

Note that Keywords associated with Files & Pages are not included in the Google searching.

Browsing within a workspace involves organizing files in a workspace using keywords.

  • Keywords are author-defined at the time a file or a page is uploaded into the workspace and it groups-together files based on their keywords, purposes, and authors.

Note that if your workspace was migrated from old ConserveOnline, the keyword for a file or page will default to the foldername it existed in (for the top two folder levels). (Keywords can be added or changed by editing the file or page.)

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